Friday, January 17, 2014

Congratulations to the Cardinal Elect Archbishop Nichols

My congratulations to the Cardinal Elect Archbishop Nichols.

It is perhaps sign of the times that some people are literally gushing over his nomination. Terence Wheldon and the Guardian welcome his support of the Soho Gay Masses, which in fact as William Oddie pointed out he stopped. Though some might suggest he merely moved them, a more charitable understanding is that he gradually tried to take control of something that began life as something almost in schism, taking place in an Anglican Church, with no oversight from the diocese, entirely under the control of its own Pastoral Council, designing its own liturgies, selecting its own priests, setting its own theology. Moving them to Farm Street with the insistence that they integrate themselves with parish life is progress, though slower than some would want.

The youthful Vincent Nichols was certainly a 'son of the Council', a key collaborator with the Hume-Worlock axis that more than anything broke with the past and some might argue introduced a serious break with the Church's working class roots and introducing the tyranny of the specialist. At 68 Vincent Nichols like all of us is not the same man he was at 28. He has moved on, like all of us he has learnt from his mistakes and the mistakes of others.

One of the most frightening comments on his appointment is by Gerrard O'Connor on the Vatican Insider, I don't know if it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek but if you want to see the career of a 'careerist' read his article. O'Connor seems to be saying that his appointment to the College of Cardinals is about business as normal, back to the old trail of  English College, Ecclesdon Square, service with the Bishop's Conference, appointment as a Bishop, nothing other than the apotheosis of the Magic Circle. For those who hoped for serious reform, this is one of the most depressing accounts I have read, it suggests, without saying, it that Francis' reforms are mere window dressing.

There is too much spin put on Abp Nichols' appointment. Cormac has reached 80 therefore there is no English voting Cardinal. Vincent Nichols has been an Archbishop for five years, and Britain unlike other European countries is in the unusual situation of normally having two votes in a Conclave, now with Cormac's retirement and his Scottish opposite number being in disgrace and being unlikely to be replaced until he himself reaches 80. At that time it might be worth asking whether England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland actually merit three red hats.

Despite the rather sad statistics of decrease in practice that came out earlier this week the English Church is seen as moderate compared to Germany or France, and holding its own. Such issues as sex abuse, compared with Ireland have been dealt with reasonably well. Compared with the USA the English Church is more or less united. There are few serious scandals that have come to the fore. Archbishop Nichols appears in Rome as a competent administrator, an asset, which despite the spin, is precisely what Pope Francis is looking for, if Curial reform is a real priority. His Grace, though less outgoing than his predecessor, knows how to read the signs of times.


umblepie said...

A balanced and fair post Father. As you rightly say we all learn from experience. I am currently reading the life of Pope Pius IX,and over the years his view of liberalism changed dramatically. Archbishop Nichols is due our prayers and good wishes in his new appointment, and may our Blessed Lady guide and protect him.

ACC92 said...

I must say, Fr, I agree with regarding the reforms being mere window dressing, sadly. And it is a position I have long held, especially in that all the reform minded Cardinals and Archbishops, like Burke, Llovera, Piacenza, Moraglia, Leonard, have been sidelined completely. I think the manner in which the holy father offers Mass is telling, especially seeing as the way one prays is an expression of their beliefs. While Benedict sought to re-Catholicise the Mass, Francis seems content with the Spirit of Vatican II manner of doing things. Indeed, it is even more telling that only the other day the holy father said the Church should LOOK good. I must disagree with him, the Church should BE good, and this will make you enemies in the world.

Liam Ronan said...

I suppose the most charitable observation one might make in respect of predicting Cardinal Nichols future impact on the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is that 'the proof of the pudding will be in the eating'. Let's wait and see what emerges from the Cardinal's kitchen.

nickbris said...

It would appear that so long as he doesn't tread on the toes of the likes of Stonewall or the LBGLTT Front he will be acceptable,I would like to see some of them choking on the pudding

Jacobi said...


Your point about the break with The Church’s working class roots and the tyranny of the specialist, is important.

The sense of the Transcendent, such a part of the Mass of John XXIII, is gone, and is now replaced with a PC, inclusive, everybody must have something to do, liturgy, fashioned by the self-perceived “intelligentsia” with their degrees in Theology, all so alien to the old intuitive working class Catholic mentality. This is perhaps the main reason why they have, certainly in my area, just walked away from the Church.

Hence the statistics!

Lynda said...

johnh said...

Excellent post Father , and also Jacobi.
Yes , as a Christian it is right I should offer my congratulations to 'Vin'.
How utterly depressing though , the future is mapped out for us. A future of glib and uninspiring appointments of glib and uninspiring toadies to various Bishopric's. Heaven knows who will land in Liverpool !! I'm confident it won't be Bp Davies.
At least 10 years of chair shuffling and biscuit munching meetings at Eccleston , with nothing more than 'Don't rock the boat' spewing out of the end.
Believe it or not , I am by nature a positive person - however I see no positives amongst our Bp's conference. Bar two or three , I'm afraid they are a waste of space. If I wasted my time waiting to be inspired by most of these people , I would need dusting after a month.
People are leaving , and have gone , in their droves. It is not hard to see why. Here's to more ultra-safe Catholicism delivered in ultra-safe British fashion. In fact Father , your picture leading this piece is enough to drive a man mad !!
Thank God for the Oratorian's.

Hughie said...

ACC92 avers that "all the reform minded Cardinals and Archbishops, like Burke, Llovera, Piacenza, Moraglia, Leonard, have been sidelined completely." I could have said "havers" rather than "avers". In what way have they been "sidelined" never mind "sidelined completely"? Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke is still Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and there is absolutely no reason to apprehend that he will be replaced. His membership of the Congregation for Bishops was not renewed but why should it have been? Five years ago he was still current with what was happening in the Catholic Church in the USA. He isn't now and so a cardinal who is has been appointed. Big deal. Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera remains Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and has not been shipped out to Madrid as many had speculated he would be. Has there been any real evidence that Pope Francis intends to replace him? Not that I am aware of. Mauro Cardinal Piacenza has been transferred to the Apostolic Penitentiary from the Congregation for the Clergy. IF Pope Francis genuinely wanted to sideline him he could easily have done so. But he didn't. Cardinal Piacenza has been seriously ill recently although all the indications are that he has made a good recovery. Pope Francis could have sacked him and, to allow His Eminence to save face, put it about that this was simply retirement because of his health problems. He didn't do so. He gave him a less onerous (physically) responsibility. Archbishop André-Joseph (Mutien) Léonard is not to be created cardinal at the forthcoming consistory. There were only a certain number of Red Hats to go round. He is just over a year from retirement. So why should he have been preferred ahead of others? Same applies to Patriarch Francesco Moraglia. However, I do have to admit that I was extremely surprised by his omission. But again, however, I was also extremely surprised at his omission from Pope Emeritus Benedict's mini-consistory of November 2012. People are reading far too much into things with scant reason for doing so. Remember Occam's Razor. And Christian charity.

Et Expecto said...

Hughie, you have to admit that, taken collectively, the changes in the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, represents a major shift in the complexion of that body. One that is decidedly in the direction of "the spirit of Vatican II".

Et Expecto said...

I would have thought that Archbishop Nichols would have had a haircut before meeting the pope. It reminds me of a picture of him when he was a newly ordained priest that I saw some time ago. He looked just like a Beatle.

George said...

I did some searching within this blog for references to the British royalty and the funny thing is I failed to find a single reference to Liz, Phil, or Charlie. Not one, even among all the commenters.

Yet, when many of these same commenters are talking about the man appointed by the grace of God to rule over all earthly kings, as well as references to this man's princes, I read the names Frank and Vin and such used.

Very strange indeed!

Hughie said...

Et Expecto suggests that "surley" I must accept that the recent changes in the membership of the Congregation for Bishops "represents a major shift in the complexion of that body. One that is decidedly in the direction of "the spirit of Vatican II"."

In short, no I don't.

Damask Rose said...

God forbid that a practicing gay Soho-style Mass will be coming to a parish nr u.

Let's hope that Cardinal Nichols will not emulate his brother Cardinal Schonborn and encourage practising gays to be on parish councils, readers, EMHC's.....

Damask Rose said...

Agree with Jacobi's comments at 12:19.

Agree with johnh at7:41.

Definitely agree with EtExpecto re the hair.

But guys, will you please wake up and smell the coffee now.

I have been reading the Catholic trad blogs for 6/7 years now. Endless discussion (which I've contributed to) on the non continuing or continuing of the "Spirit" of Vatican II either through some appointment or non appointment of a cleric or some promulgation. Endless lamentation of the dire state of catechesis of young and adults.

We've had Vatican II for 50 years and have seen the Church shrink in size and become more sacrilegious by the day. 25 years of those 50 years were spent under the pontificate of John Paul II which was honest, orthodox, autocratic and at times downright filled with malarkey, what with Assisi, Universalism, Ecumenism (kissing the Koran), WYD shenanigans. Pope Francis has spent much of his life being formed under VII and JPII's pontificate as have other countless clerics. Those 50/60 year old priests formed in the 80s will one day become papabile. So maybe we have anther 2/3 decades of VII papacies. People say that the "biological solution" will sort this out. Will it?

With regards to the Catholic Church, I think the Puppet Masters have got what they truly wanted. In the recent UN/Vatican talks re sex abuse, the Vatican wouldn't even man-up to admit that 80% of sex crimes against children were committed by gay clerics. (Did they say that, I could be wrong, perhaps I missed it(?)). Are the majority of priests teaching the faith from the pulpit/through their behaviour? Or are they just pleasing their parishioners? Re catechesis, like the Tsar and the peasantry, if you don't educate the people in their faith, they can't demand much from their priests. God bless traditionalists in their dreamland, but you're expecting people to go from a lax, easy-on-the-sexual-morals type of Catholicism to a pre-VII more demanding faith, that, Very Importantly, in those days, was sustained by priests and people alike to practice this type of faith ie evening rosary at Church, sodalities, Handmaidens for girls, Novenas, Saints and so on. A Catholic life that is non-existent at the parish-level now because what is in place is as Jacobi described at 12:19, but I'd add that the laity are all over the Sanctuary doing Father's job and much of this is women-led.

I'm not saying I've got no hope.

I just think we're in the End Times, and the angels are sorting the "wheat from the chaff". The Catholic Church is like the Titanic racing towards the iceberg, but some of us, the Remnant, will get off on the lifeboats. At this current time, they're isn't enough trad-leaning priests.

Benedict XVI has had a long life and witnessed the Church from pre-WWII, through his modernist tie-and-suit phase to the current days. In his reflectful theological outlook he has done two major things: released the Mass of Ages and made the Rite of Baptism wholly Catholic - "Ecclesia Dei". These are tools the Remnant needs.

What to do?

There are so many Catholic Trad-priest blogs out there, Fr Ray's being one. Instead of all this discussion, why don't priests blogs focus on a catechesis effort. Maybe in the sidebars, or in a tabular mode, they
could put up some genuine wholesome traditional catechesis, illustrate it with lovely pictures, like those old Italian Holy Cards, make it child-friendly, put up devotional (ie, Sacred Heart, Our Lady) colouring pictures you can download for kids to colour in. Apologetics for the teenager. Instead of it just being thread after thread of current commentary, why not do something to help us?

What does Father do to catechise the Remnant in his parish? Do you think I know where to find or have the money (yes, really) to buy all these things? How can priests help people like me, bring up my kid in the One, True, Apostolic Faith through their blogs and websites?

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

here's a good site for printable holy cards:

they used to say that the 'Mass must be lived', which could be why the generations 'living' the Novus Ordo have no One Mind; all the choices of prayers, all the languages, reconstructed altars, churches, face this way or that, sing/play sacred or secular, vestments or civies, on and on, all the new evangelisings which are focused, not on converting the world, but on 'learning' from the world...what? (I checked out your link, Linda - I should be surprised). If one's identity is stripped overnight, what is to be expected of the poor soul when he gets up in the morning?

at least priests working at feeding their sheep with that living memory are still on the path to healing the Poor Soul; and the SSPX/FSSP is a living memory of that desperately needed identity still intact, so when we want to remember, we've got a living example.

epsilon said...

Damask Rose - hear, hear!!!!!!!

How many of us will be at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 25th January? See friggy thread

Jacobi said...

@ Damask Rose

You are right. Start again and with catechesis, whether on the web or from the pulpit. It’s really up to the priests. There will be no help from the Hierarchy.

May I put my little plug in again regarding an issue I think is core? The Mass is not a Protestant communion service at which everyone troops up to receive. Yes, if in a State of Grace, pleasing to God and otherwise properly disposed and,” not out of routine or vain glory or human respect”.

At a rough guess about 45% of the congregation on any particular Sunday, should stay put.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Someone above produced a timescale for future developments. It sounded accurate. It takes about seventy years for these disastrous episodes to unfold. The only issue to agree upon is when did the clock start ticking? I would suggest 1970 is a good starting point. I rekon by 2040 the nightmare will start to end.

johnh said...

Just out of interest , do Cardinal's wear red to symbolise their willingness to shed their blood for the Roman Catholic faith , as in St John Fisher ?

It is actually possible to catechise these days , but as one poster pointed out , you need a willing priest . At Manchester Oratory talks on the catechism resume at the end of february . It is almost twelve months since I started to attend this fine church . In that time I have heard things I never heard mention of in my previous 26 years as a convert . For example purgatory (mustn't mention that - might confuse people) , hell (shhhh - don't want to scare the kids) , regular confession - just to mention three . Staples of Roman Catholic faith you would imagine . And a Mass where over 100 people pray in silence and reverance - WHERE DID THAT COME FROM !!!!!

Genuflection , exposition , benediction , vespers , rosary , even an ordination . How very strange indeed !!

Frederick Jones said...

Having come back from a fortnight in Spain Im surprised anyone goes to church at all. In an important seaside town there msss is said except for outbursts of pop music at the offertory and the communion. The atmosphere is one of friendliness with the climax being the Kiss of Peace. The old air of mystery is gone.with no young acolytes,no incense, no surpassing sense of devotion. The only advantage was that Spanish sounds so much more like Latin. The contrast with the splendid architecture of a gleaming baroque church was painful.

Is it the same in Argentina? The church my son attends in England is even worse though without the splendid buildi

momangelica said...

ACC92, Liam Ronan, nickbris, Jacobi, John, Damask Rose. I sooo agree with your views. ...cough....Archbishop Nichols....sigh! While it is really "Condolences English Catholics"! This Church leader who appeared to support women priests, not to mention the 'Soho Travesties' which showed that he was not Fit For Purpose.He demontrated a dreadful lack of understanding of Christ's Church, the Holy Mass and it's Sacrificial Role.
Jacobi 8.21. So true what you point out, having been to a couple of different churches to do 'White Flower appeals' it is shocking the comments I get from people who moments earlier have received the Blessed Sacrament. God has graced me to be strong in my faith. He alone sustains it as the scandalous things I've witnessed these last 47 years (won't count from birth to age 17) should have devastated every scrap of it.

I taught my two youngest the *St Gertrude's prayer which saves 1,000 souls each time it is said.
The phone rang one evening as we were saying this prayer and when I came back from answering it the children told me that they had saved 5,000 in my absence. Children love 'little jobs'.
*The prayer of the Angel given to the Fatima children is very nice for children to learn and a good lead into The Account of Fatima.
*The prayer to the 'Wound in the Shoulder' is another exercise for children, not to mention any age of Faithful to increase devotion.
And we happened upon *The Lord's Prayer - for the souls of the Dead.
* The St Michael the Archangel prayer is another, so join them all up and you have a fine Catechisis as a springboard and something to offset the spiritual deprivation offered in Catholic schools. The only one of my six children not practicing was the one who choose Theology at 6th form. She came home with shocking versions of Catholic Teachings. I pray for the conversion of souls which includes the likes of our Hierarchy. God bless you all!

Delia said...

I've just started this:

Reading the whole Catechism in a year! I found the link to this particular scheme on Fr Tim's blog a few years.

Lynda said...

Momangelica, thank you for your witness and words of wisdom.

Unknown said...

No pressure, Fr. But you can make another post anytime you like

Damask Rose said...

Dear momangelica

What lovely prayers for your kiddies. And I expect they will gather such wonderful fruits for their souls from saying these prayers too.

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